Math Team wins second at Downtown Mathematics Invitational

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Isabella Ciriello , Staff Writer

Last weekend, a team of six students from the school placed second in the Sixth Annual Downtown Mathematics Invitational (DMI). The team, named Jones Polynomials for Upper Division math teacher and team leader Chris Jones, consisted of math team members Mary Wang (12), Kira Lewis (10), Andrew Glover (11), Carmen Zhang (10), Alicia Li (9), and Katherine Wan (9). 

The tournament, hosted by Stuyvesant High School, consisted of individual, marathon, and tie-breaker rounds. In each round, competitors must solve a set number of problems in the alloted time. Lewis and Li placed second and fifth respectively in the individual competition, which consisted of five two question rounds, lasting ten minutes each.

Jones was proud of the team’s excellent performance considering many members were underclassmen and had not prepared beforehand, he said. “It was really impressive performance by the students,” he said. “It seemed like they really enjoyed each other’s company too.”

Lewis was surprised that the team placed so highly in the individual round, she said. After each set of questions the judges revealed the answers to the participants. “I was stressed during that part, but then once I knew that I had a perfect score, I was pretty satisfied,” Lewis said.

Wang first participated in DMI as a freshman, but was not able to compete again until this year due to COVID. She was excited to mentor the younger team members, she said. “It’s a pleasure to just work with them,” she said. “They always have new ideas, and sometimes they are even doing better than I am.”

Glover was nervous going into the competition because he had never participated in a math tournament. “I was a bit intimidated at first, especially with the team aspect,” he said. “I didn’t really want to let my teammates down, but it was a really cool experience.”

Glover found it fun to work with students from across different grades in such a high-stakes setting, he said. “It’s a really easy environment just to start working on the math problems.”

Li was worried that as one of the two freshmen on the team she would not be able to complete the more difficult problems, but her teammates’ skill sets and ability to work well together made her feel comfortable, she said. “I didn’t really feel there was any significant age difference,” Li said. “We all just worked together as a team, regardless of age, even if we haven’t met each other before.”

Wang enjoyed bonding with students across grades over a topic of mutual interest, she said. “Of course it feels good to win, but we went there to have fun and do great math problems.” 

For Jones, placing second overall amongst over 40 teams was a memorable achievement, especially because the majority of the members were underclassmen, he said. In 2017, his team won, and in 2018 they came in second, Jones said. “We haven’t been to an in-person competition since before the pandemic, so I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I am really proud of what they accomplished.”